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Pope hosts cardinals for summit on abuse

The world's cardinals met yesterday in a rare Vatican summit to discuss the sex abuse scandal, religious freedom and the conversion of Anglicans to Catholicism.

Pope Benedict XVI summoned the cardinals for a day of reflection before a ceremony yesterday to create 24 new cardinals, who ultimately will choose his successor.

For the day-long meeting, Pope Benedict chose agenda items that were particularly timely, taking advantage of the presence in Rome of his top advisers to brief them on issues of concern.

The issues include clerical sex abuse, religious liberties, relations with other Christians and the Vatican's invitation to Anglicans to convert en masse to Catholicism.

The Vatican last year made it easier for Anglicans to convert by allowing them to retain some of their liturgical practices and heritage.

As the cardinals were meeting, the Church in Britain announced that about 50 Church of England priests had expressed interest in joining five of their bishops in converting to Roman Catholicism.

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